Wilco, Tortoise | UIC Pavilion | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Wilco, Tortoise Recommended Member Picks Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Sun., Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. and Mon., Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. 2009

Jeff Tweedy opens "You Never Know," a George Harrison-esque nugget from the new Wilco (the Album) (Nonesuch), by gently chiding, "Come on children, you're acting like children / Every generation thinks it's the end of the world." He's clearly commenting on the kind of myopic self-absorption that keeps people hung up on the superficial way they're perceived—when they insist they're living in the Last Days, it's just to make them seem special. Tweedy and company have earned this stance by developing a long-range perspective of their own: though audiences seem equally likely to consider their music avant-garde pop or inoffensive "dad rock," Wilco are rooted too deeply in rock history to care what anybody calls them. On the new album, "Bull Black Nova" harks back to the days when Jim O'Rourke's adventurous production earned them an unwarranted reputation as experimentalists—over an unspooling Krautrock groove full of tense dynamic shifts, a murderer straight out of a Coen Brothers movie waits to be caught—but otherwise the songs, not the style, do the heavy lifting. "Wilco (the Song)" pokes fun at overinvested fans, promising that "Wilco will love you, baby" and offering a "sonic shoulder to cry on," but Tweedy's lyrics cut deeper when they grapple with ambiguity, moral and otherwise. The couple in the gorgeous "You and I," a duet between Tweedy and Leslie Feist, accept the disconnect in their relationship because they can still "make something that no one else has," and the soldier in "I'll Fight" taints his heroic martyrdom with self-satisfaction and self-pity. As usual the bedrock beneath Tweedy's uncertainty is the band's combination of sweetly biting melodies and subtly invigorating arrangements, spiked by the inventive leads of guitarist Nels Cline and the unexpected accents and bombs of drummer Glenn Kotche. —Peter Margasak

Price: $39.50, 10/18 sold out

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